What Is The Best E-Commerce Platform For An Online Store?
There is no question that e-commerce is a great industry to get into. It offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell products and services to a global customer base, 24 hours a day, seven days a week without any of the overheads of a physical store.
But which is the best e-commerce platform for an online store?
In this article, we will discuss the benefits and features of some of the most popular e-commerce platforms and also provide some useful tips for maximising the potential of your e-commerce business.
The Top 6 E-Commerce Platforms
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms and it is easy to see why. It offers entrepreneurs a simple, user-friendly platform with a wide range of features, including:
A customisable checkout process
24/hour customer support
Fraud monitoring tools
An extensive app store with over 1000 apps available
Shopify also has a huge target customer base, making it an ideal platform for businesses looking to sell products and services online.
BigCommerce offers many of the same features as Shopify. However, their main selling point is their marketing tools which can be used to help businesses get started with e-commerce.
Like Shopify, one of BigCommerce’s best features is its app store where users can find thousands of apps that they need for running an online store including analytics, email marketing software and payment processing tools.
By using BigCommerce’s built-in SEO tools entrepreneurs are able to optimise their website for search engines and increase traffic from organic sources like Google or Bing searches.
For those who want more control over their website design but still want it easy enough to set up a simple shop in minutes, then this might be the best option.
Magento is a popular e-commerce platform that offers entrepreneurs the ability to create their own online store in minutes. It has all of the features you need, including:
A customisable checkout process
Real-time shipping rates
Payment processing tools such as Paypal and Stripe
An easy drag-and-drop website builder for those who want more control over their design
The ability to link social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter
The platform has many great benefits, however, one downside is its lack of support which might make it difficult if you’re just getting started so Magento is best suited for businesses that have some experience in online selling but who want more control over their website design.
Wix is another excellent choice for small businesses. It has an easy to use drag and drop website builder that allows you to create your own online store in minutes with no coding experience necessary.
The platform also offers a wide range of features such as:
Payment processing tools like PayPal or Stripe
Email marketing software including MailChimp, Constant Contact or Sendinblue (for more advanced users only)
Facebook and Google Analytics integration
Wix also has a huge target customer base, making it perfect for businesses just starting out in e-commerce.
The main downside of Wix is that you are limited in terms of design and customisation so if you want more control over your website then this might not be the best option for you.
Squarespace is another popular e-commerce platform for small businesses. It offers a simple platform that is easy to use with a wide range of features, including:
A customisable checkout process
Excellent customer support
An extensive app store with many apps that are excellent for e-commerce businesses
Like Wix, Squarespace also has a huge target customer base making it perfect for businesses just starting out in e-commerce. The main downside of Squarespace is there are also limitations when it comes to design and customisation.
What is E-Commerce?
E-Commerce, or Electronic Commerce as it is sometimes known, is the process of buying and selling goods online. The industry traces its roots back to the early days of the internet when it was first used to sell books and music. Since then, e-commerce has exploded in popularity and is now a multi-trillion dollar industry that is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The Benefits of E-Commerce
This growth can largely be attributed to the fact that e-commerce offers entrepreneurs a number of benefits that are not available with traditional brick and mortar retail stores, including:
An online store can reach customers in any country around the world. This gives entrepreneurs access to a global market which is not possible when selling from a physical location. All you need is a reliable shipping service and you’re good to go!
Low Startup and Operating Costs
Setting up an online store is much cheaper than opening a physical location. There are no overhead costs like rent or utilities and once your website has been built there won’t be any recurring expenses either unless you want to hire someone else for maintenance work (which will still be less than the cost of hiring someone to work at your physical store).
Huge Target Customer Base
Almost everyone who has access to the internet is a potential customer for your online store. This is in stark contrast to traditional retail stores which are limited by their geographical location. To reach out to global customers, all you need is a well-designed website and an SEO strategy that will ensure your site appears high up in search engines like Google and Bing (see below).
Your online store never closes. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days of the year so even if someone wants to buy something at three o’clock in the morning they can do it on your site without any hassle or inconvenience. This also means that you can sell to customers in different time zones without having to change your store’s opening hours.
Unlimited Item Capacity
Unlike traditional retail stores, online stores do not have any physical limitations on the amount of stock they can carry. This gives entrepreneurs the ability to offer a much wider range of products and services to their customers. If an item is selling well, then it is easy to purchase more from the supplier without having any extra costs involved for storage.
A Convenient Customer Experience
E-commerce has revolutionised the way we shop. With a few clicks of a mouse, customers can browse through an endless selection of products and buy whatever they want without having to leave the comfort of their homes. They can compare products side by side, read reviews of items they’re interested in buying and even purchase items on the go using their smartphones or tablets.
Cheap Marketing Options
E-commerce entrepreneurs have access to a number of cheap and effective marketing options that are not available to traditional businesses. These include SEO, social media marketing, email marketing and paid advertising. By utilising all of these methods, you can reach out to millions of customers at a fraction of what it would cost in other ways.